|Although human operators are an indispensable element in military aviation today, they are allready partly dispensable
in many functions. Indeed humans are becoming the limiting factor for further improvements in aerial vehicle
performance. UAS – Unmanned Aircraft Systems – are systems that employ unmanned aerial vehicles, but are still
manned systems. The removal of human operators from the vehicles themselves presents new conceptual and
architectural possibilities to both civilian and military exploitation of the airspace. Existing systems occupy a wide
range in system complexity, air vehicle cost, size, sophisication and performance. A great many new systems can be
expected in the years to come, including, and perhaps especially interesting, micro air vehicles (MAV) and unmanned
combat aerial vehicles (UCAV). The motivations for developing and fielding UAS include performance improvements,
cost savings, reduced political cost through elimination of aircrew losses, greater battlefield availability of airborne
resources, and reduced risk of poor operator performance under stress and fatigue. The potentially great implications of
the transition to unmanned aviation dictate an active involvement from an early stage. The greatest challenges to a
leading position in the manned-to-unmanned transition stem from cultural inertia, scepticism towards venturing into
unfamiliar technology and not least from the very great stress on budgets which is now experienced by the armed forces.
In the long term, there is little doubt that unmanned aircraft systems will become prevalent.